Greetings, friends and family. I hope all is well and that you have had a fun-filled, relaxing summer. I would like to share a few things that are happening within our Region.
On June 30, 2022, after fourteen months of working without a new bargaining agreement, Local 598 (Flint Assembly) and Local 652 (Lansing Grand River) UAW members, working for GM Subsystems, LLC, were ready to take it to the streets. These employees perform the kitting and bring small parts to the assembly lines. They are integral to the success of our assembly operations, but their value was not reflected in their agreement.
As the 10 a.m. deadline approached, there was this power of solidarity and brotherhood and sisterhood in the air. There was a feeling of togetherness that makes you proud to be a UAW member. The company knew we were all united, from the LLC members to the assembly workers, to the sanitation workers.
Just before the deadline, a new agreement was reached. Employees across the worksites were cheering and celebrating even before knowing the full details of the contract. They were experiencing the true meaning of solidarity and unionism. For me, this was a proud moment to be able to share in their victory, and to thank them for sticking together – even when outside influences attempted to change their course.
The agreement would go on to be ratified at four worksites, with a 96% YES vote. Congratulations and solidarity to all!
After a great Labor Day weekend, I could not help but reflect on this special holiday, and our union. 2022 marked the 128th anniversary of celebrating labor nationally, and the 87th birthday of our great union. A union that took on the largest corporation in the world at the time and won the respect and dignity that they deserved along with a voice at the bargaining table. A union that has endured a world war, technological advances, corporate bankruptcies, recessions, far too many anti-union U.S. Presidents, and yes, even groups that have attempted to hijack our union.
Despite these and other challenges, our union endures and continues to make a difference in the lives of so many. The wrongdoings of some in the past few years have cast a dark shadow over our union, but we are emerging stronger, more transparent, and more unified than ever. I am proud to be a part of these changes; proud to be a part of leading our Region in supporting these changes. As your Director, I refuse to let the actions of a few define me and you.
Lastly, imagine the company issuing a policy that prohibited you from wearing shirts at your worksite that displayed the UAW or any other union insignia. This policy was issued at the Tesla plant, dictating to employees that they could not wear any clothing with union insignia on it. This was a decision that was supported by the Trump era NLRB decision restricting workers from forming a union.
The good news is, after some worker friendly appointments, the Board has issued a major decision on August 29, that Tesla violated the law by restricting employees’ right to wear union t-shirts in the workplace. The board explained that union insignia are a “critical form of protected communication” under the NLRB used to support organizing campaigns, demonstrate solidarity, and advocate for issues during collective bargaining. The decision also applies beyond union insignia to other slogans that concern terms and conditions of employment. Remember, these types of decisions are only made in favor of working men and women when we vote and elect the right people.
In closing, remember ballots for our UAW International Officers will be mailed beginning in early October. It is critical that everyone have their voice heard. It all starts with your local union having your current address.
REMEMBER, GET IT, MARK IT, MAIL IT!